Following arrests of its seven officials in Sweden, FIFA assured at a press conference that the 2018 and 2022 WC games will still be held in Russia and Qatar. Calling itself “the damaged party”, the federation said it fully cooperates with the probe.
A press conference was called over the scandalous arrests of FIFA’s top shots on corruption charges. The body called it “a difficult… but good” moment that warrants a much needed cleanup. Sepp Blatter, however, will not be stepping down as president, as he is “not involved” in the scandal. Friday will see a FIFA’s annual meeting and an election, where Blatter is expected to win for the fifth time.
The probe has also cast a shade on the 2010 vote which decided on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. The Swiss Attorney General (OAG) alleges ‘criminal mismanagement and money laundering’ took place during the procedures.
But FIFA communications chief Walter De Gregorio assured the 2018 and 2022 tournaments will be held in Russia and Qatar, and there will be “no re-vote.”
“It is certainly a difficult moment for us,” de Gregorio said. “It is a hard time for us. But this is good for FIFA. It confirms that we are on the right track. It hurts. It’s not easy. But it’s the right way to go.”
De Gregorio also reminded that it was FIFA who on November 18 of last year filed criminal charges with the OAG, and it is therefore the football body that is the real “victim” here in the fight against corruption.
Early Wednesday morning, Swiss authorities raided a luxury Zurich hotel, arresting seven top FIFA and related officials. OAG says electronic and other information and documents have also been seized from the federation’s headquarters as part of the investigation.
One of the most significant arrests is that of Jeffrey Webb, the vice president of the executive committee. Webb has previously been hailed by Blatter as a potential successor.
Other officials held by Swiss police include Rafael Esquivel, President of the Venezuelan Football Federation, Eduardio Li, President of the Costa Rica Football Association, Jose Maria Marin, vice-president of the Brazil Football Federation and Jose Maria Marin, vice-president of the Brazil Football Federation.
A total of 14 officials and sports-marketing executives were charged in an indictment containing 47 counts. Seven of the defendants were arrested this morning. They are now be facing extradition to the US.
US prosecutors have accused several officials from football’s governing body Fifa of racketeering, fraud and money laundering involving tens of millions of dollars over 24 years.
Prosecutors said they had discovered a dozen schemes, including one awarding the 2010 World Cup to South Africa.
Fourteen people have been indicted, with seven held in Zurich on Wednesday.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who is not among them, issued a statement vowing to kick out corrupt officials.
Fifa also announced a “swift and immediate provisional ban” from football-related activity on 11 of the people involved in the US prosecution.
Fifa says it still intends to hold its presidential election on Friday. Mr Blatter is favoured to win a fifth term.
Sepp Blatter has to go. No question. The larger question is whether Prince Ali bin-Hussein is the right man to replace him.
At the end of the darkest day in FIFA’s history – how can it not be when leading officials cover themselves in sheets as they are led into cars in an early-morning raid by Swiss prosecutors – nobody knew for sure whether Friday night’s (AEST) presidential election would go ahead.
The European confederation, UEFA, wants it delayed. Blatter won’t. The FBI, which orchestrated the swoop, has suggested the arrest of seven leading FIFA officials in Zurich is the tip of the iceberg. That tells us bigger fish are about to be caught in the net. Blatter? Maybe his luck has finally run out.
For decades Blatter has been able to fend off allegations that he has personally been involved in the culture of bribery which at first weakened, and has ultimately destroyed, FIFA’s credibility. Much of his protection has come from his incumbency. Any delay in the election will effectively remove that. He’ll be a dead man walking in every sense.
Which brings us to Prince Ali, the Jordanian royal who has emerged as the pin-up boy for the forces of change. His claims look impressive. A campaigner for the right of women in the Middle East to play football. A leading figure in the removal of a former Asian Football Confederation president, Mohammad Bin Hammam, who was found to be palpably corrupt and the man who, more than any other, deceived Australia in the disastrous 2022 World Cup bid. Perhaps as important as anything else, Prince Ali is a Muslim, and would become the first non-Christian president of FIFA – potentially a unifying force at a time when the world game is being ripped apart.
And yet. The troubling dimension to Prince Ali’s emergence is that those pushing him the hardest come from Western Europe and the US. This is where the commercial strength of football lies. In the case of the US, three of the game’s biggest sponsors (Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Budweiser). In the case of Western Europe, the richest clubs and leagues in the world. That England and the US stand to gain from a re-vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup adds to the concern.
The fear is that Prince Ali could be a Trojan horse not for reform, but for the re-emergence of a powerful, western bloc which has never accepted FIFA’s strategy to spread the game rather than concentrate it. No wonder Blatter’s support is strongest in confederations like Oceania, Asia, North/Central America and Africa – regions which have benefitted the most from FIFA aid and who remain staunchly suspicious of Prince Ali’s patrons. On the eve of the election he still has some convincing to do.
Is the third son of King Hussein of Jordan, and the second child of the king by his third wife, Queen Alia. Prince Ali is claimed to be the 43rd generation direct descendant of the Islamic prophet Mohammad. Since 6 January 2011, he has been the Vice President of FIFA for Asia.
He entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. Ali was commissioned as an officer in December 1994 and was awarded the Brunei Medal. Before continuing his studies in the United States, he served in the Jordanian Special Forces as a pathfinder, earning his military freefall parachute wings. He completed his undergraduate education at Princeton University in 1999.
Ali was one of a number of FIFA officials to call for the publication of the Garcia Report into allegations of corruption surrounding Russia and Qatar’s bids for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.
In January 2015, It was announced that Prince Ali will challenge Sepp Blatter for the leadership of FIFA.
On 23 April 2004 Prince Ali married Algerian-born Rym Brahimi, a former CNN journalist and daughter of Lakhdar Brahimi, United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan. The marriage was publicly celebrated on 7 September 2004.
Prince Ali holds a number of foreign decorations including the French Légion d’honneur, and the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan.
this is all about timing..i want to make a few points here..
FIFA has been corrupt for years but now 3 days before the presidential election they drop these bombshells..FIFA should be torn down and started again from scratch..
the indictments are from the usa..the west and europe back the rival to blatter..
blatter is a corrupt bureaucrat..but the jordanian price will be no better..look at his bio above..a descendant of mohammad??
side versus side..using well known corruption in FIFA to also take the world cup away from russia..that push will come..bank on it..
“The troubling dimension to Prince Ali’s emergence is that those pushing him the hardest come from Western Europe and the US. This is where the commercial strength of football lies. In the case of the US, three of the game’s biggest sponsors (Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Budweiser). In the case of Western Europe, the richest clubs and leagues in the world. That England and the US stand to gain from a re-vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup adds to the concern.”